We chatted with our good friends over at SBNations AZ Desert Swarm. Here’s how it went.
Do you feel like Deandre Ayton is as good as he is hyped up to be, and is there a way for Buffalo to stop him?
Yes, Deandre Ayton is as good as advertised. He is the best player the program has ever had, which says a lot considering the number (and quality) of players Arizona has put into the NBA. The supposed flaw in Ayton’s game coming out of high school was his motor, but that hasn’t been an issue at all this season. As far as how Buffalo will stop him, the only hope is to simply prevent him from getting the ball. Double teams don’t work that well because he is a willing and able passer. So denying entry passes is the way the Bulls are going to slow him down, and sometimes Arizona’s guards struggle throwing the ball down low.
Also, Ayton sometimes gets a little too jumper-happy at times. He’s a good shooter, but he’s so much better around the basket that he limits himself when he settles for outside shots.
Are Arizona fans at all worried about Buffalo, or are they looking ahead to Kentucky?
I don’t think worried is the right term. I think most expect to win, but realize that an upset is always a possibility, especially since Buffalo has the type of offense than can cause problems for a Wildcat defense that hasn’t been all that great this year (albeit it was much-improved in the Pac-12 Tournament).
What player on the Bulls are you most afraid to play against?
Definitely CJ Massinburg. Arizona doesn’t have anything close to a lockdown perimeter defender on its roster, so a well-rounded guard like Massinburg could cause them a lot of trouble.
How far do you realistically see the Wildcats going this season?
Knowing this team, nothing would surprise. They have the talent to win the whole dang thing, but they have also been inconsistent to the point that it wouldn’t shock me if they lose in the second round. I personally think Arizona will lose to Kentucky in the second round or advance to the Elite Eight. Nothing in between.
Arizona fans seem angry about the four seed. What seed should the Wildcats be if you were on the committee?
A four seed was fair. The issue (most) Arizona fans have is with the region they were placed in. Most expected to be in the West, which would have meant Arizona would have gotten to play in San Diego in the first two rounds, then Los Angeles in the next two rounds. Obviously by being in the South, they have to travel much farther and will have a lesser home-court advantage.
It also didn’t make much sense that the committee put Auburn, a team actually from the South, in the West instead of Arizona.
Prediction for the game?
I’m expecting it to be pretty close, honestly. Most Arizona games have been this season. But I think the Wildcats will win by like 9-12 points, pulling away in the end. warm. Here’s how it went: